In a sign that the Bharatiya Janata Party was growing increasingly wary of the Union minister as he escalates his attack on Nitish Kumar, there was no word from the saffron party on the appointment Kushwaha had sought with BJP chief Amit Shah.
RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha said Friday the “impasse” over the seat-sharing arrangement among the ruling NDA constituents in Bihar and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s “insult” of him will be discussed in his party’s meeting in Patna on Saturday.
In a sign that the Bharatiya Janata Party was growing increasingly wary of the Union minister as he escalates his attack on Nitish Kumar, there was no word from the saffron party on the appointment Kushwaha had sought with BJP chief Amit Shah. The Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) leader will leave for Patna Saturday morning to attend his party’s state executive meeting, and BJP sources said any meeting between the two leaders before that is unlikely. Kushwaha had left for Delhi from Patna Thursday, tweeting that he had sought an appointment with Shah to discuss the issue of seat-sharing and also his alleged humiliation by Kumar.
Speaking to reporters in the national capital, Kushwaha claimed that his party wanted its share of seats in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 to be commensurate with its “increased” strength compared to the 2014 polls when it had contested on three seats. The BJP has indicated that it is unlikely to spare more than two seats for him. Kushwaha also repeated his allegation that Kumar had called him ‘neech’ (lowly). Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal (United) president Kumar had said at an event that the level of discourse “should not be lowered (itna neeche mat giraiye)”. He had responded to a journalist’s query about Kushwaha’s claim that Kumar did not want to continue as CM after the 2020 assembly polls.
The RLSP leader alleged that Kumar referred to him as ‘neech’, a charge vehemently denied by the JD(U) which also released videos of the event. He also claimed that Kumar wants to destroy his party. “The impasse over the seat-sharing arrangement continues,” Kushwaha said, adding it will also be discussed in the meeting.
The RLSP chief’s aggressive comments against Kumar and his attack on Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi for defending of the CM has signalled his growing isolation in the coalition. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party is another National Democratic Alliance constituent besides the BJP, JD(U) and RLSP. Speculations were rife that Kushwaha could make a “big announcement” with regard to his continuance in the BJP-led NDA.
Mercurial RLSP leader Nagamani echoed the prevailing mood on the eve of the meeting with a cryptic remark, “There will be a big explosion in a day or two”. However, a senior party indicated that the RLSP will not pull the plug on NDA and wait for the BJP’s response.